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Some new numbers ...

Our last rehearsal took place so long ago that no-one could actually recall quite when it was, so last Tuesday's session at Pete Ward's country mansion was somewhat overdue. As was pointed out in one of our 'Featured Blog' posts, rehearsals - though rare - are hugely popular thanks to the provision of sustenance in the form of cakes from The Pudding Kitchen (run by Pete Middleton's wife Rachel). Fuelled by Tiramisu Cheesecake, Bakewell Tart and Date & Apricot Oaties, we were inspired to work hard on a clutch of new numbers, starting with our take on Shake It And Break It (based on the 1921 Southern Serenaders and 1929 King Oliver recordings and not the rather simpler Charlie Patton version).

Not entirely new to us, but one which hitherto never quite established itself in our repertoire, is Sam Morgan's Short Dress Gal, so this has been duly revived, dusted off, and put on the list for our next gig. Next up was The Minor Drag, a Fats Waller number, which was caught up in a studio mix-up during the labelling process - it was actually entitled Harlem Fuss, but somehow got issued as The Minor Drag while The Minor Drag became Harlem Fuss - all very confusing, really! The band will, at some future gig, doubtless be observed taking a leisurely break for tea and biscuits while Maestro Denham regales our audience at some length with the fascinating details ... whichever title you use, it's a crackin' number, Gromit!

New charts from Pete Middleton included Jelly Roll Morton's The Pearls plus three Ellington numbers from the Cotton Club - Pete's favourite jazz era! These were Rockin' In Rhythm, the less well known Old Man Blues and the 1929 version of Cotton Club Stomp. This is another example of a baffling title, as the Duke recorded an identical title but a totally different number in 1930! Potential for disaster in performance is clearly lurking in the wings, as we already have in our repertoire Pete's arrangement of the 1930 version ... the two numbers have now been officially re-named as Cotton Club Stomp #1 and Cotton Club Stomp #2, but who knows what may happen in the heat of the moment? Just to add to the excitement, Trevor Whiting is expected to play soprano sax, alto sax and clarinet on the new chart, though not actually at the same time ... though maybe one day ...


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